Golf simulators have advanced so much from the early days of just hitting a ball into a net and feeling if it was a good shot or not. These days, the feedback from golf simulators can act as your golf coach, and many coaches actually use them to improve golfers too.
But what sorcery is behind the golf simulator? Is the technology really basic or is it way more complex than it looks? Let’s take a look at what technology golf simulators use and which is the best.
What technology is in a golf simulator?
Golf simulators work by analysing shots taken and using a large collection of data to simulate the rest of the shot once it hits the screen or net. You will see the remainder of your shot instantaneously appear onscreen and the data returned by the simulator gives golfers a bigger picture.
As technology improves, the information fed back to golfers also gets better. Fundamentally, there are three main types of technology at work in a golf simulator. These are photometric, radar and infrared and we will look at each one in greater detail to give you a better understanding of their function.
Photometric technology in golf simulators uses a camera system to track the flight of your ball. Images are shot at high speeds as the ball accelerates towards the screen. These still images are then used to analyse the direction your ball is travelling in plus additional information like spin, speed and angle.
Using the camera system to understand how the ball is moving after your shot goes a long way to predict where it will end up in the simulator. This feedback is also important to highlight where improvements can be made in a golfer’s game.
Radar technology in golf simulators works by using microwaves to track the movement of the ball. Signals are sent from the simulator to the ball and back again to track its movement.
This technology is capable of calculating direction by using the Doppler effect, however, it commonly requires the ball to travel farther. For this reason, radar-based golf simulators are ideal for outdoor use, but some are still capable of working indoors in larger spaces.
Infrared is another common type of simulator technology. This works thanks to a light signal that comes from the simulator to capture the position of the clubhead as it moves through your swing. Information is fed back to the golfer about their swing to help them correct or adjust it next time if they are trying to make amendments to the way they hit the ball.
What is the best golf simulator technology?
Which golf simulator technology is best depends on where the simulator is and how much space you have. Launch monitors, which produce the data required for golf simulators to work, largely rely on radar or photometric technology. Some sophisticated simulators can even use both!
In larger spaces, where it can view the entire ball flight, radar technology is best but in limited space then camera technology excels. Given that most people install a golf simulator in a limited space, camera-based photometric golf simulators are more common. Either technology works perfectly well in the right situation, it’s just important to install the right type to get the most from your golf simulator.
Top golf simulator picks
There is a good reason why TrackMan is the world’s most used indoor launch monitor by both pros, coaches and custom fitters. TrackMan is one of the leading brands in the golf simulation world thanks to the wide variety of data it provides as feedback for golfers.
TrackMan’s dual radar system looks at both the clubhead movement and ball movement. This focus on both aspects of the golf swing, ball and club, plus cameras for added feedback provide the ultimate golf simulation experience. With the ability to link your TrackMan simulator to your phone or tablet you can access your swing data no matter where you are in the world.
There is no monopoly on good golf simulator technology and another top pick is the SkyTrak simulator. The SkyTrak Golf Simulator can instantly display launch data on your simulator as it captures ball data from the moment you connect.
With high-speed photography capturing every movement of your shot you can rely on the SkyTrak simulator for accuracy. Its detailed feedback helps golfers improve their game one swing at a time. Thanks to an affordable price, fun and entertaining games plus a portable casing, the SkyTrak is great at home or on the range. With comparable results to the TrackMan, choosing either of these golf simulators is a great bet for improving your golf game at home.
Looking to install a golf simulator?
Here at Golf Swing Systems, we provide expert advice and golf simulator installation. From simple launch monitors to fully-fledged golf simulator cabins, we cover the spectrum. If you are interested in finding out more about how we can install a golf simulator at your home or place of work, get in touch.